Bronx street boxing aims to end shootings with booze and booty

We’re breaking the first and second rules of fight club.

The Post got a firsthand look at Rumble in the Bronx (RBX), an underground promotion that makes its money on amateur bloodlust, liquor and erotic dancing girls – which organizers insist doubles as a community safety project.

“I’m not a huge fan of people beating each other up, but this was pretty well orchestrated,” said Penny Lee, a professional webcam girl who twerked between rounds as audience members made it rain with wads of singles. “It was a cool, safe environment.”

Whether it’s a deli, a self-storage pod or the back of an 18-wheeler, the secret locations for RBX shows are always changing. The most recent venue was a Hunts Point junkyard where security checked IDs and patted people down for weapons.

Weed dealers were invited inside to sell strains called alien breath, jelly donut and captain cake. A merch station run out of a minibus hawked RBX T-shirts. A local woman supplied chicken and cheeseburger empanadas for $5 a piece.

Underground fight club Rumble in the Bronx has transformed local venues into fighting playgrounds.
Steve Ferdman

Flatbed trucks became makeshift VIP sections where high rollers ordered hookahs and bottles of Don Julio for $300.

RBX leader “Killa” Mike Roman distributed 30 pies donated by Bruckner Pizza, who proudly sponsored the event along with The Print Lab and the Diamond Club strip joint.

“It’s about the community,” said Bruckner Pizza owner Oscar, who didn’t provide his last name. “I figured it was a good cause to give back to.”

Rumble in  the Bronx is not sanctioned by the state Athletic Commission and is considered illegal.
Rumble in the Bronx is not sanctioned by the state Athletic Commission and is considered illegal.
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Steve Ferdman

Metal barricades with pool noodles wrapped around the bars as padding made up the “ring.” Instead of a canvas floor, they used puzzle-piece foam mats.

Novice fighters — some wearing jeans — relied more on heart and haymakers than technique while more than 100 rabid fans cheered and shouted “F–k him up!”

Roman jeered at tied-up fighters, saying, “If you want to hug someone, hug your girl after the match!” When a female boxer’s weave fell out, he donned it and strutted around the ring to a roar of laughter.

Winners are determined by audience.
Winners are determined by the audience.
Steve Ferdman
Novice and amateur fighters duke it out and throw wild haymakers,
Novice and amateur fighters duke it out and throw wild haymakers.
Steve Ferdman

DJ Shadow played G-Unit’s “I Smelly P—-y” for those who threw in the towel.

When fights went the distance — three three-minute rounds -— the winner was chosen by who got the most applause, and Roman always made sure to commend both fighters as “real ganstas” and “warriors.”

Charles “Kanye West” Woods won the night’s first match. After a 15-minute back-and-forth full of combos, uppercuts and jabs, he and his opponent hugged.

Marijuana dealers are invited to RBX ring bouts.
Marijuana dealers are invited to RBX ring bouts.
Steve Ferdman

“This seemed like a great way to test myself and maybe go viral,” Woods said. “I wish I could’ve done better, but I’m happy with the win.”

After a random callout, which is encouraged, one overzealous bruiser nicknamed “The Cuban Sandwich,” allowed his opponent free chin shots, resulting in a bloody, busted nose.

“I’ve only had one serious injury, but it was because one guy tried to bite another, like some real Mike Tyson stuff,” Roman said.

Rumble in the Bronx attracts more than a 100 rowdy fans cheering for blood.
Rumble in the Bronx attracts more than 100 rowdy fans cheering for blood.
Steve Ferdman

Fans who range from truck drivers and construction workers to artists and social media personalities see RBX as entertainment you can’t find anywhere else.

“It beats just chilling in the house or on the block,” said Jonas Leon, who works as a sound producer. “It’s a fun time, and you never know what is going to happen, but I also use it to network. Killa Mike is doing something positive. He’s good people.”

Despite all the borough support, RBX is illegal.

Penny Lee, a professional webcam girl, claims Rumble in the Bronx offers a “cool, safe environment.”
Penny Lee, a professional webcam girl, claims Rumble in the Bronx offers a “cool, safe environment.”
Steve Ferdman

RBX isn’t sanctioned by the state Athletic Commission, which aims to protect fighters from corrupt practices.

“In addition to the potentially serious health and public safety concerns, there are both criminal and civil consequences of hosting underground fights,” the agency said.

Martin Snow, who runs the Trinity Boxing Club in Tribeca, said it’s a recipe for disaster.

Penny Lee twerks between rounds as spectators rain wads of single dollar bills into the ring.
Penny Lee twerks between rounds as spectators rain wads of single dollar bills into the ring.
Steve Ferdman

“Running a legitimate club these days is not easy, and it’s not cheap, but it’s required” he said. “For the people that cut corners, it’s only a matter of time until someone gets hurt or killed.”

Roman, who said RBX’s motto is “Guns down, Gloves up,” insisted his goal is to deliver a one-two punch to gun violence and squash personal feuds.

“The drinking, the smoking, the girls – that’s all stuff people gravitate toward,” he said.

Amateur fighters see opportunity in competing at Rumble in the Bronx.
Amateur fighters see an opportunity in competing at Rumble in the Bronx.
Steve Ferdman

“I’ve done the activism thing before and walked around with signs that say, ‘Stop Shooting,’ but that only gets the attention of nonprofits and government types, not the people who might actually pick up a gun.”

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